The 10 Best Welding Projects for High Schoolers

While you may think that they should start teaching kids at an earlier age, many high schools have a welding program to help the kids start learning trades as they get older. High school students are more capable of understanding the ins and outs of the more labor-intensive projects. Since many times they do start teaching kids about Middle School age how to weld, high schoolers typically have more of an understanding of the process. Once you have gone over the safety precautions and the basic weld techniques, you will want to give projects to them that will challenge their knowledge and approve upon their skills.

These welding projects will allow them to see how the welds improve as they do certain things and make sure that they are using the correct welding equipment and electrodes. If you’re going to teach kids, it would be important to teach them all the different techniques and types of welding. However, arc welding tends to be a little easier for them to pick up so I would start with that one and move on to the others as your budget allows. Having said that, I have compiled a list of 10 projects that should help guide your student’s creativity and understanding of the process. Take a look at the list and see if any of them give you any ideas for your next training class.

Before Starting

There are a few things that you need before getting started. First, you will want to gather the materials that you will need. Most of the time the price for the material will vary from area to area so you will need to check your local retailer. If you want to use scrap metal to build the unit, you can typically get the metal for about $0.40 per pound at a local scrap metal yard. You can modify the design of most of these projects so that you can use scrap metal. This will just depend on what you are looking for.

Once you have the material you need, you will want to make sure you have the tools that you need. Here is a list of the tools that will be needed for all of the projects.

  • Welding machine
  • Angle grinder with discs
  • Safety gear
  • Set Square
  • Spirit levels
  • Drop saw
  • Paint if needed

There may be other special tools or considerations that you need before starting some of the projects. These extra items will be listed with the project. You also want to make sure that you have a well-ventilated area to work on your project.

1) Welding Table

This good basic welding table consists of an upper and lower frame separated by four legs with slats for the top. This simple design while bulky is easier to put together and makes a good beginning project for those looking to learn to weld. Let’s face it, every welder needs a good welding table and this will allow them to make use of one of their creations. If you have the student complete this project first, it will give them a place to work for the rest of the class.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

While this is a bigger project, it consists mostly of tee joints, corner joints, and spot welds. The main difficulty in this project is its’ size.

Additional Tools/Space Needed

None

Materials Needed

    • 8, 4 inches, 5mm flat bar that is 29.5 inches long
    • 4, 1.5 x 1.5-inch square hollow tubing 29.5 inches long
    • 4, 2.5 x 1.5-inch square hollow tubing 49.2 inches long
    • 4, 2.5 x 1.5-inch square hollow tubing 29.5 inches long
    • 1, 1.5 x 1.5-inch square hollow tubing 43.3 inches long
    • 1, 2.5 x 1.5-inch square hollow tubing 24.8 inches long
  • 4, 2-inch caster wheels

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

This piece will give your students a place to weld and a sense of accomplishment because they get to use something that they made. Although it is bulky, it is a useful piece that is relatively easy to put together. Having said that, the skills needed to weld this project are only the basics so once you have completed their training, this is a good task that will allow them to continue on with the learning. 

2) Tray Table

For this tray table, I have chosen a simplistic design that is 2 19.5 x 29.5 in frames with 4 39.5 in legs separating them in whatever configuration you would like. You can top this table with a piece of sheet metal or wood if you would like. Although simplistic in design, if done correctly, this can be a stylish and unique piece.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

While this is a bigger project, it consists mostly of Tee Joints, corner joints, and spot welds. The main difficulty in this project is its’ size.

Additional Tools/Space Needed

None

Materials Needed

    • 4, 1 x 1-inch square hollow tubing 29.5 inches long
    • 4, 1 x 1-inch square hollow tubing 39.2 inches long
    • 4, 1 x 1-inch square hollow tubing 19.5 inches long
  • 1, 19.5 x 29.5-inch piece of light steel for the top or a piece of wood cut to those dimensions

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

With a project like this, it can be put together in multiple different configurations. This will allow the student a little more leeway in the design of the unit. Plus, this being a functional piece, it will be more important for them to learn to produce a smooth weld. If you choose to use wood on the top, this will give you an opportunity to teach your students about how to incorporate wood and metal pieces. However, if you decide to have them build a metal tray, they will want to make sure that the welds are nice and smooth so that the piece is as aesthetically pleasing as possible. You can make the piece as nice or as rustic as possible so that it will fit in with any decor.

3) Fire Pit

While this is a fairly simple project, it is a large project. Cutting the triangular pieces of metal in half so that you can use the wider bottom piece of the triangle to build the bottom in a square configuration and use the top half of the triangle to build the inside of a fire pit. This will require cutting it in precise angles to get the look that you’re wanting. Once welded, the piece should look like an angle piece of metal up bending down into the pit. This design is for a square fire pit but if you are looking for something different you can change it up as much as you would like.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

While this is a bigger project, it consists mostly of Tee Joints, corner joints, and spot welds. The main difficulty in this project is its size.

Additional Tools/Space Needed

Straight edge and chalk, hammer, tape measure, and heat proof paint if wanted

Materials Needed

  • 1, 47.25 x 47.25-inch piece of chequer steel plate cut into equal triangles crossway

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

The angles on this project have to be very precise to get the pieces to meet so that they can be welded together. You can change the angles depending upon the look that you’re wanting to achieve. This will allow the students to make slight changes in the design to make their firepit either taller or shorter. Having said that, this project will have long, even welds that need to be smooth in order to achieve a good aesthetic. If you do decide to have them paint the piece, make sure they use heat proof paint so that it will not peel.

4)  Tree Jewelry Holder

This artistically unique piece is created by joining two quarter-inch metal dowels that have been welded together to a plate so that they look like a tree. You will bend the unwelded upper part out to create the major branches. Welding one or two other pieces on to create more large branches for the smaller dowels. Then take the 8th-inch dowels and randomly place them around the larger limbs to create a tree looking structure. Make sure to keep the limbs level or pointed up so that the jewelry will not slide off. This, of course, is only one design for the piece there are many others out there that can be substituted that will give you a different look depending on the decor that it will be fitting in with.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

Even though this is not a large project, it does consist of quite a few accurate welds and will test their ability to produce smooth joint

Additional Tools/Space Needed

None

Materials Needed 

    • 1 piece of  ⅛ or ¼ inch steel plate that is 5×5 inches
    • 2 pieces of ¼ inch metal dowel rod 18 inches long
    • 1 piece of ¼ inch metal dowel rod 8 inches long
  • 18 pieces of ⅛ inch metal dowel rod 1.5 inches long

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

While the welds in this project are not terribly long, they need to be more accurate to produce an aesthetically pleasing piece. This will teach your students better accuracy and control and also give them more leeway when it comes to the design of the piece. The fact that this project is as customizable as it is, helps to create a wonderful project to get the kids interested with.

5) Tool Tote Tray

Every worker needs a good tool tote so this is a good project for a beginner. A simple design, this tote uses 2-inch sidewalls that are welded to a base to create sides of the box. The 4-inch wide pieces become the end caps. Cut from the top of the weld in the corner up to the middle of the end cab. This will turn it into a triangle at the top. Then weld the 1-inch steel tube between the two peaks from one end to the other to create a handle. This makes a simple tool tote that is rather strong and useful.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

This is a  smaller project, but it requires a few long straight welds which can pose a problem if the student is not ready. I would say that this project is somewhere between beginner and intermediate.

Materials Needed

    • 1, 24 x 18-inch piece of chequer steel plate
    • 2, 4 x 18-inch piece of chequer steel plate
    • 2, 2 x 24-inch piece of chequer steel plate
  • 1, 1-inch steel tube 24 inches long

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

This is a good project to test a student’s accuracy with because there are several long welds that must be performed. It is not as important with this piece to make sure the welds are clean, however, it will make the piece look more aesthetically pleasing. Having said that, this is also a useful piece once they get it finished. This and the workbench make good first projects so that the student will have them to use for the other projects.

6) Steel Washer Bowl

To create the washer bowl, the washers will be laid out in a design of your choosing. You do not have to use a specific design as long as you get the look that you are expecting. This is similar to the pictures to the right. Start on the bottom of the steel bowl and weld the washers around the shape of the bowl. This allows you to get the general shape of the unit and keep the design that you have chosen for your piece. Once you have completed the shape, remove the piece from the template bowl and then grind down any of the imperfections. Once you have done this, all you need to do is steel brush it and seal it or paint it if wanted.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

The difficulty with this piece lies in the design and making sure that washers touch in the appropriate places.

Additional Tools/Space Needed

Wire brush

Materials Needed

    • 100 assorted steel washers in different sizes
  • Steel bowl for a guild

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

While this is a small project that helps teach the student about using templates to produce the desired shape, it will also help with their welding skills because it requires a certain amount of precision to make sure the washers are connected well and will not come apart. Once finished, this can make an aesthetically pleasing piece that can be used in any setting.  Plus, it allows the student to customize and create your own designs that they can use to build the bowl with and if they like the outcome they are more likely to continue on with welding throughout life.

7) 5×7 Metal Picture Frames

With this project, cut your angle on each end of the inch and a half plate so that you get a sunken look to the picture frame. This will typically be about a 40-degree angle. Then weld the angle iron together to create a slot that the 5 x 7-inch photograph can fit into and tack that to the back of the angled plate that you have welded together. Drill a hole about halfway down the 5-inch span of the half inch angle iron on both ends.

Weld the two 3.5 inch square metal tubing pieces to the 7-inch square metal tubing creating a long u- shape. Drill holes in the center part of the upper inches of the square metal tubing. Run a small bolt through the hole and into the hole that you drilled on the angle iron you can weld this or use a nut to secure it. Once you have done this, it creates a pivot point for the tubing so that it can be moved out and used as a stand for the piece. This piece can be made to look like whatever you would like depending on the type of material used so you can make this piece as nice as you would like.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

This small project requires precision welding and angle cutting in order to get the picture frame to look correct. This project would fall somewhere between beginner and intermediate.d

Tools/Space Needed

Additional Tools/Space Needed

Wire brush

Materials Needed

    • 2, 1.5 x 10-inch pieces of ⅛ inch light steel plate
    • 2, 1.5 x 8-inch pieces of ⅛ inch light steel plate
    • 2, 5-inch pieces of ½ inch angle iron
    • 2, 7-inch pieces of ½ inch angle iron
    • 2, 3.5-inch pieces of ½ inch square metal tube
  • 1, 8-inch pieces of ½ inch square metal tube

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

This project will allow your student to adjust the angle to change the depth of the window. You can use different size plates and different styles of welding to create a unique piece. The welds need to be smooth and precise so that the piece has a nice aesthetic to it. This will help your student with their welding technique.

8) Keychain Holder

For this type of keychain holder, we’ve chosen a simple design. Take the 3, 3.5-inch metal dowels and heat them with a blowtorch using a pair of pliers to bend the end over and create a hook shape. Weld these 3 dowels to the metal plate one about an inch from each end and one in the middle. This project can be highly modified depending upon how many keys you’re looking to hold. If you need more than three sets of keys, you can always double the size of the plate and add three more dowels.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

This is a small piece that requires smooth welds so it would fit more towards the beginner portion of the skill level.

Additional Tools/Space Needed

blowtorch, drill, clamp, and pliers

Materials Needed

    • 1, 2.5 x 8-inch piece of ⅛ inch steel plate
  • 3, 3.5-inch pieces of metal dowel

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

While the welds are fairly straightforward, your student will need to shape the hooks before assembly begins. This may be a simple project, but it is a useful one once it is together. You can also modify the design of key holder depending upon the look that you’re wanting. You can even mount the plates on a piece of wood that will give the project a nice rustic look or make it as fancy as you wish.

9) Metal Pencil Holder

A simple design, this pencil holder uses 4, ½ inch square tubes welded to a metal plate to create functionality. Simply align all four tubes from largest to smallest and you should have about a half an inch clearance on all sides. While this is a useful piece, it can be modified and made fancier so that is aesthetically pleasing as well. there are also other fancier designs that can be found so that the unit will fit on any desk. You can even mount the plate on some wood as a nice addition to the piece. 

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

While this is a useful item, it is not a difficult build. The design of the unit can be changed depending upon the skill level of the student.

Additional Tools/Space Needed

Hacksaw

Materials Needed

    • 1, 1.5 x 3-inch piece of ⅛ inch steel sheet
    • 1, 3.25-inch piece of ½ inch square metal tube
    • 1, 3-inch piece of ½ inch square metal tube
    • 1, 2.75-inch piece of ½ inch square metal tube
  • 1, 2.5-inch piece of ½ inch square metal tube

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

This project will help students learn the basics of design and assembly. The welds are smaller and tend to be a tad easier than the normal. Having said that, if they wish, they can modify the design and make it more their own. By doing this, it will allow them to express themselves as well. Once they have mastered arc welding if your budget allows move on to the more advanced types of welding like TIG or MIG.

10) Firewood Rack

To start this unit, you’re going to join two of the 40 inches 1.5-inch metal tubing pieces together with one of the 17 inches 1.5-inch square metal tubing pieces. Do this twice and stand them up with the adjoining bar at the top. Join both of the 40-inch sections together with 2 of the 20 inches 1.5-inch metal tubing pieces one at about one inch off the floor and one at about 8 inches off the floor.

Once you have both sides done, you will weld the two remaining 17-inch pieces from one 20 inches 1.5-inch square tubing to the other creating a crossbar. This will effectively create two shelves, one for wood and one underneath it for newspapers. You will take the two 8 inch pieces of 1-inch metal tubing and weld them to the two 15 inch pieces of 1-inch metal tubing. This will effectively create two L’s that can be welded to the outside of the frame to hold kindling. While this is the normal configuration and size, you can customize many parts of this project to make it nicer or change the size. You can even add more cross members so you can have more shelves.

Rating

Beginning to intermediate

Difficulty

While this is a larger piece, it is a relatively simple assembly. It is very customizable an adjustable depending upon what the student would like to do with it.

Additional Tools/Space Needed

None

Materials Needed

    • 4, 40-inch pieces of 1.5-inch square metal tubing
    • 4, 17-inch pieces of 1.5-inch square metal tubing
    • 4, 20-inch pieces of 1.5-inch square metal tubing
    • 2, 8-inch pieces of 1-inch square metal tubing
  • 2, 15-inch pieces of 1-inch square metal tubing

Skills Needed

Arc welding, basic engineering, and design

Why You Should Choose This Project

This is a slightly more advanced build that will test their knowledge of design and material. The welds need to be smooth and aesthetically pleasing so that the unit will look good and be functional as well.

In Conclusion

While writing this article, I came across many different projects that would be suitable for high schoolers. If none of these are what you’re looking for, do some research and see what you can come up with. However, I can tell you that these projects are some of the easier that I found. I arranged the difficulty so that they wouldn’t all be easy builds and it would test their skill with the welder. Having said that, let’s teach our kids safety first and then add the welding in on top of that. I hope that you enjoy reading this article as much as I have written it, so let’s find a project and get started.

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